The Diary of Thomas Burton: 31 December 1656

Pages 282-291

Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 1, July 1653 - April 1657. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.

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Wednesday, December 31,1656.

A bailiff brought to the bar for arresting Captain Mason's servant, who, upon his submission, (fn. 1) was acquitted.

A Bill for settling lands in Ireland upon Captain Blackwell was read the second time and committed.

Mr. Robinson, Mr. Bond and Colonel Markham were against it, for it seems his adventure was not above 2,000l. and the land is now worth 20,000l. I twill be worth 60,000l. for so it was in the time of peace, being great quantities near Dublin.

This day his Highness and the Council kept a private fast.

(Whitehall, December —) Ordered that Sir Henry Vane, (fn. 2) and Mr. Feak be set at liberty.)

Major-General Howard. Go to the order of the day, which is for the petitions, that they may be read in order; and the tenants of Westminster's petition, which is first in order.

Mr. Robinson called for the calling of the House.

Mr. Speaker. By what book would you call them, by the book that had all the returns, or by the book of those that were approved. (fn. 3)

Colonel Purefoy would defer calling them for a week; for he perceived many that intend to be gone as soon as called.

Mr. Bampfield. Call them now, lest they think you will never call them.

Major Beake was against calling them at all.

Sir John Reynolds. Call both this day and a week hence.

Mr. Nathaniel Bacon. You ought to call them twice.


Bedfordshire. John Harvey.

Berkshire. Captain John Dunuh. (fn. 4) Commands a militia troop.

Cambridgeshire. Colonel Castle. Sick in town. Lord Richard Cromwell: sick.

Cheshire. Sir George Booth. (fn. 5) Mr. Leigh. Desperately ill, gone into the country.

Cornwall. John St. Aubin, Esq. Anthony Nicholl, Esq. is sheriff, and tied to attend.

Mr. Robinson said, none ought to be sheriff without the House's leave.

Mr. Richard Carter, Mr. John Fox.

Devonshire. Mr. Arthur Upton.

Mr. Reynell said he was afraid of the gout, and went while he could go or stand.

Resolved, that Mr. Arthur Upton be excused.

Colonel Shapcot. His wife has been sick.

Per Colonel Gorges and Major-General Disbrowe,

Resolved, that Colonel Shapcot be excused.

Mr. Robinson proposed that he might be excused till term, then he will attend.

Major Samuel Searle. Absent.

Dorsetshire. Colonel Fitzjames. Excused, not well.

Essex. Sir Thomas Honey wood. Was here yesterday. Mr. Dudley Templer: gone down sick.

Gloucestershire. Mr. William. Neast. His wife and three children sick. Thomas Fury, jun.

Captain John Stone. Sick all the Parliament.

Herefordshire. Bennet Hoskins. Colonel Rogers. Sent down by special command of his Highness.

Hertfordshire. Colonel Cox. Excused, his son dead.

Huntingdonshire. General Mountagu. Long at sea: takes fresh air.

Kent. Mr. Oxendon. Excused: sick. Mr. Baron Parker: not well. Gabriel Livesey.

Lancashire. Colonel Richard Standish. Did attend, but out of temper, and went down, speedily to return.

Leicestershire. Colonel Beaumont. Mr. Thomas Fochen.

Major-General Whalley. They have attended hitherto.

Lincolnshire. Mr. Peart, Mr. William Ellis, Mr. William Wray. Absent.

Middlesex. Sir William Robarts and Colonel Grosvenor. Excused.

Mr. Carey. Sir John Barkstead.

Norfolk. Colonel Wilton. His daughter very sick: excused.

Per Mr. Church, Sir John Hobart, and Major-General Skippon,

Colonel Wood. Excused: sick.

Per Sir Gilbert Picketing and Lord Claypoole,

Colonel Charles George Cock. His wife sick of small pox.

Northamptonshire. Mr. Thomas Crew, Francis St. John, Francis Hervey.

Northumberland. Mr. William Fenwick.

Per Mr. Speaker,

Resolved, that Mr. William Fenwick be excused, and Mr. Robert Fenwick, who said his father was aged, and a marriage was to be in that family, and that he will return speedily.

Nottinghamshire. Colonel James Chadwick.

Per Major-General Whalley,

Recorder of several places, and gone down to serve.

Mr. Robinson. Those towns ought to have considered that before.

Resolved, that Colonel Chadwick be excused.

Oxfordshire. Mr. Miles Fleetwood.

Resolved, that Mr. Miles Fleetwood be excused.

Rutlandshire. Mr. William Shield. His wife is very ill, and he hath hitherto attended close.

Per Major-General Boteler and Mr. Puller,

Resolved, that he be excused.

Shropshire. Mr. Waring. He is chosen Sheriff, and commanded away.

Mr. Ashe, Jun. and Lord Strickland desired his excuse.

Sir William Strickland. This is the worst excuse in the world. They are tied to attend, in the county, and in the Parliament.

Mr. Attorney-General. It is a bad word in Parliament to say any member was commanded away. None ought to command here without your leave. None could be Mayor of any corporation, without your leave. It was the Lord Mayor of London's case. This is your privilege, and ought not to be parted with.

Major-General Goffe and Sir Thomas Wroth. None ought to command here, without your leave.

Lord Fleetwood. It was not done through any breach of your privilege; but from want of asking leave.

Mr. Speaker. Excuse him, and enter it upon your book, by leave now asked.

Colonel Matthews moved, that Sir John Coppleston and Mr. Nicholl might be excused upon the same terms. Resolved.

Colonel Crompton has constantly attended hitherto.

Resolved, that Colonel Crompton be excused.

Somersetshire. Mr. Luttrell. His wife sick.

Resolved, that he be excused.

Mr. John Ashe has the gout.

Resolved, to excuse him.

Sir John Harrington. Is ill himself, and his wife is ill.

Mr. Robinson. If every man that has an ill wife, should be excused, it would go far, haply, in this House, for excuse.

Southamptonshire. Mr. Robert Wallop: his sister sick. Mr. Cole.

Resolved, that they be excused.

Mr. Cobb.

Resolved, not to be excused.

Mr. Hildesley, Sheriff of Southampton.

Per Colonel White,

Desires he may be excused, as before.

Mr. Robinson and Sir William Strickland. It is time to make some of them examples, that take any employment.

Resolved, that Mr. Hildesley be excused.

Suffolk. Mr. Clarke.

Mr. Hussey. Mr. Clarke had. the misfortune of a vote, yet, having urgent occasions, went down.

Resolved, that Mr. Clarke be excused.

Mr. Brewster.

Resolved, to excuse him. It seems he acquainted Mr. Robinson with his going.

Surrey. Sir Richard Onslow: not well.

Resolved, that he be excused.

Mr. Onslow the younger, has small pox in his family; so dare not come up to sit here.

Resolved, that Mr. Onslow be excused.

Resolved, that Mr. Drake be excused. He has attended close.

Sussex. Sir John Pelham, Bart., Mr. Stapeley.

Resolved, that Mr. Stapeley be not excused.

Sir Thomas Parker.

Resolved, not to excuse him.

Warwickshire. Sir Roger Burgoyne.

Resolved, to excuse him. He came in just as the vote passed.

Mr. Peyto.

Resolved, not to excuse him.

Major-General Howard stood up unsatisfied. The House divided.

Sir Christopher Pack and Colonel Rouse, Tellers for Noes; 89 sat.

Colonel Bingham and Major-General Howard, Tellers for Yeas: 83 went out. (fn. 6)

Worcestershire. Sir Thomas Rouse. Not well in body nor mind.

Per Major-General Bridge,

Resolved, that he be excused.

Mr. Lechmore.

Per Lord Whitlock, Sir Lislebone Long, and Mr. Bampfield,

He has attended here in the vacation, as well as term. His wife is sick, &c.

Colonel Hewitson and Mr. Robinson. Put the question for his excuse, provided he will be here in term time. It seems he will be here suddenly.

The Master of the Rolls. There is a difference between an ill wife, and a sick wife. It seems his wife is sick.

Resolved, that Mr. Lechmore be excused.

Resolved, that Mr. Edmund Giles be excused.

Wilts. Sir Walter St. John. Mr. Stone.

Resolved, that Mr. Stone be excused.

Yorkshire. Colonel Bethel. Excused, because not well.

Wales, Brecon. Mr. Evan Lewis. Commands a militia troop. He desires he may be excused.

Resolved, that he be not excused.

Carmarthen. Colonel Dawkins. Here yesterday.

Resolved, to excuse him.

Lord Claypoole. Here the other day.

Resolved, that he be excused.

Radnor. Mr. Gwynn. Has kept his chamber six months. Excused.

Ireland. Sir Hardress Waller.

Per Major Morgan,

He cannot be spared from his service in Ireland.

Resolved, to excuse him by leave now given.

Per Major Morgan,

Major Redman and Colonel Sadler are absent upon the same account.

Colonel Cooper. Except Sir Hardress Waller and Sir Charles Coot, all may come.

Mr. Newburgh. Is no member of the army, but sick.

Per Major Aston,

To excuse him.

Colonel Ingoldsby.

Resolved, to excuse him by leave now given.

Colonel Daniel Abbott.

Resolved, that he be excused upon leave.

Sir Robert King. Is sick, not able to sit here.

Resolved, that he be excused.

Resolved, that Colonel Sadler and Major Redman be excused, upon leave how asked.

Resolved, that Sir Charles Coot, upon leave now asked, be excused.

Lord Whitlock. It will not look well upon your books to say, "upon leave now asked." It is like an offence ex post facto.

Mr. Robinson. You should write sense upon your books. This is like asking leave to go out of town yesterday.

Resolved, that Sir Thomas Hony wood and Lord Claypoole be excused; being come in just now.

Captain Baynes and Sir William Strickland. Not only make it a formality to call the House, but lay a penalty upon such as have made the default, and lay all others to attend under a penalty. Enlarge the time for a fortnight.

Sir Thomas Wroth. Call over the names of such as you have hot excused, that we may then judge.

Captain Baynes offered 20l. fine to be set upon defaulters.

Mr. Robinson. Reserve your fine, and appoint a short day for the defaulters to appear; else to be fined.

Colonel White. Set a greater fine upon the sullen party.

Resolved, that fourteen days be given to appear.

Major-General Disbrowe and Lord Strickland. If you set too great a fine they will choose rather not to come in, than pay too great a fine. Let it be 10l. rather.

Mr. Speaker. The honour of Parliament is as well to be respected as the profit. You must not set a small fine. I find in a Parliament in Queen Mary's time, a fine of 20l. was laid upon the defaulters.

Resolved, that those that have made default may be called this day fortnight, and those that do not appear to pay 20l. (fn. 7) a piece, before they be admitted, and the fines to be paid in to the Serjeant-at-arms.

Colonel Matthews moved, that the names of members upon second elections might be returned to the clerk.

Captain Buynes moved, that no member may depart without leave, under a penalty. (fn. 8) Otherwise many will be gone.

Sir Christopher Pack seconded that motion, that there might be a stop to all members going away without leave.

Mr. Godfrey. Your order was to call the House, in general. I desire that the clerk of the Commonwealth may return all the names. (fn. 9) It is said you are judges of your members; how if you have not a power, ad infra, to preserve yourselves ? It was told you by a noble lord, that the law of nature enjoins self-preservation. That liberty is given to every creature. I humbly move that you would take an account of your own members, and know how, and why, they are detained. It is the common interest of the nation, and the honour of your house. Haply I may speak with prejudice. Some members can neither speak, nor be silent, present, nor absent, without prejudice and reflections. I know nothing that is judicially before you, against the members. In point of conscience, I am tied to speak this. I desire you would appoint a day to call those members.

Major-General Whalley. It is against the orders of the House, to make any new motion at this time of the day.

Mr. Bampfield. It is no new business, but in order to your day's work, that all your members should be called. I desire to second that motion; otherwise that you would adjourn the debate to another day, till when I shall reserve my judgment in the business.

Mr. Thistlethwaite, (who came in to-day.) This motion has been firsted and seconded. I desire to third it. It is a business of universal concernment, and settlement to the nation, and the expectation of many, that the foundation of Parliament should be established, which cannot be done better than by inquiring into your members, and upon what account they are detained.

Mr. Meredith stood up to speak to the same purpose, but the Speaker, being sick of the motion, left the chair.

In the Inner Court of Wards sate the Committee for the City of London Petition.

In the Speaker's chamber, sat the Committee for Bibles.

In the Star Chamber, the Committee for Hospitals near Leicester. (fn. 10)

In the Army Chamber till after seven, sat the Committee for Courts at York, (fn. 11) Major-General Howard and others.


  • 1. "And paying his fees, and attending Captain Mason, when he comes to town, and making his submission to him." Journals.
  • 2. He had put forth a pamphlet, entitled, " A Healing Question Propounded and Resolved, upon occasion of the late Public and Seasonable Call to Humiliation, in order to Love and Union among the Honest Party." For this he was summoned to appear before the council, 1656. "The paper," says Ludlow, " contained the state of our controversy with the king, the present deviation from that cause for which we engaged, and the means to unite all parties in attaining the accomplishment of it." Sir Henry did not disown the publication; and refused " to give security not to act against Cromwell." Appearing " again before the council, he delivered into Cromwell's own hand another paper, containing the reasons of his disapproving the present usurpation, and a friendly advice to him to return to his duty." In the sequel, " he was sent prisoner to Carisbrook Castle." Memoirs, ii. 576, 577. "Sir Henry Vane arrived at London, in a short time after, where he met with another kind of persecution. Cromwell privately encouraged some of the army to take possession of certain Forest Walks belonging to Sir Henry, near the castle of Raby, and also gave order to the Attorney-general, on pretence of a flaw in his title to a great part of his estate, to present a Bill against him in the Exchequer. Yet, at the same time, he was privately informed that he should be freed from this, or any other inquisition, and have whatever else he would desire, in case he would comply with the present authority." Ibid. p. 594.
  • 3. See supra, p. 262 note .
  • 4. "Related to the Protector by marriage," Parl Hist. xxi. 3. See Noble's " Memoirs of tbe Protectoral House of Cromwell," (1787) ii. 443. Edmund, a cousin of John Dunch, was made a peer by tbe Protector, in 1658. See a fac-simile of his patent. Ibid. p. 162.
  • 5. In 1659 hie appeared in arms for the king, was defeated by Lambert, and imprisoned in the Tower.
  • 6. So in Journals. Mr. Peyto is the only defaulter there named.
  • 7. So in the Journals. In 1626, the penalty was 10l. In 1664, it was 10l. for every Knight of a Shire, and 5l. for every Citizen Burgess, or Baron of a Cinque Fort.
  • 8. 1620. Ordered, that no member of this House shall go out of town without open motion and licence in the House after nine o'clock.
  • 9. See supra, p. 262, note .
  • 10. See supra, p. 82.
  • 11. See supra, p. 17 note.